Mid-South Food Bank celebrates 40th anniversary

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Mid-South Food Bank swapped out its warehouse’s pallet jacks and forklifts for tablecloths and candles Saturday night as the nonprofit celebrated its 40th anniversary.

The organization’s leaders said in addition to looking back on 40 years of feeding the hungry, they were its success during the pandemic- the busiest time in its history. Now that things are leveling out, though, they are encountering some new challenges.

Attendees gathered next to racks upon racks of food to listen to music and celebrate the food bank’s history, emceed by FOX13′s own Darcy Thomas.

“We’re celebrating the work that we’ve done for the community for 40 years,” Cathy Pope, president, and CEO of the food bank said.

Pope said the event was expected to raise around $80,000, a huge help in feeding the 400,000 people the food bank serves.

“The food bank can take one dollar and stretch it,” Cliff DeBerry, the Mid-South Food Bank’s board chairman said. “Create a lot of meals for the community. That amount of money will go a long way.”

During the pandemic, Pope said the food bank was distributing more than 50,000,000 pounds of food per year, but that amount has now leveled out to around 30,000,000 pounds. Despite the lower demand, new challenges have come up, including supply chain issues.

“We’re working hard because some vendors say they don’t have the product or are maybe having to adjust what the product is,” she said.

Pope said another challenge is inflation, which has caused food prices to rise about 25%. With the continued help of the community, Pope is certain the Mid-South Food Bank will power through and continue serving the area for another 40 years.

“Love this community,” she said. “They are very supportive of the work that we do. Very generous.”

Pope said those who are interested in helping the food bank can do so by donating money or volunteering. To set up a volunteer shift, click here.